In September 2015, just over three years ago, like many other 18-year-olds – I took my driving test. It was a shock to many (none more so than myself) that I passed first time. I left for university a week or so after this unexpected achievement, and wouldn’t drive again until after graduation.
Not because I couldn’t – legally, I could. I had both the license, and I was insured on my Mum’s car. But I chose not to. I’d found learning to drive really challenging, and to be completely honest – it frightened me. I’m not a natural… let’s just put it that way.
Learning to drive with Mum & Dad was at times… challenging… to say the very least. What follows is a collection of my favourite quotes and happiest memories…
*Disclaimer: I love my parents & brother DEARLY. They are wonderful, kind and brilliant people. I owe everything I have, and everything I am – to them.*
Dad: Jess – the cycle lane is for cyclists NOT YOUR LEFT WHEEL.
Dad: Jess, you need to learn to A N T I C I P A T E – like NOW – brake, brAKE, bRAKE – JESUS CHRIST BRAKE. (YouTube ‘Fenton’ if you want to truly feel the moment… similar sort of panicked vibe)
Mum: (often sat in the back): David, Jessica – if you could both just CALM DOWN and learn to LISTEN to EACH OTHER this whole thing will be a lot less stressful… (honestly, my mum is a first class diplomat, the UN don’t know what they’re missing…)
*After yet another stall/terrible reverse* Gareth: Bants, got the whole thing on Snapchat.
And my personal favourite…
Dad: Have you overdosed on carrots recently? Because seeing as you’ve YET AGAIN forgotten to turn your lights on… you must be able to see in the dark! (I’m ashamed to admit this was literally less than a week ago…)
Anyway – my point is – getting back on the roads more regularly has been really REALLY tough.
Hill-starts, turning right, and reversing are my personal demons. Also roundabouts. Why are they a thing? People just don’t indicate. Lanes are so vague. Plus there’s often fancy foliage blocking your vision (cc. ASDA roundabout, sort it out Grantham).
Fundamentally, what was initially a huge success became (in my mind) – a long term failure. Every now and again, during my three years at University – I’d promise my parents I’d have another go, and it would be awful. I’d stall (often at a major junction), panic, get frustrated, often get upset, and then give up.
But now? I had to face my fears. I’m back home working full time, and I need to be able to get myself to and from work. Fundamentally, I need transport – and my shifts often start at 5.30am, so public transport wasn’t really an option… So, I took the plunge, and bought my own car. RIP my finances xx
She’s called Flora and she’s PERFECT. Really small, super cheap and a BEAUTIFUL bright red (mainly so I don’t lose her… although I did spend five minutes trying to unlock the wrong car the other day… will be eternally grateful to the true owner for being VERY understanding and not calling the police). I’ve practised driving constantly over the past few months, and I’ve steadily developed my confidence, and learnt to drive with constant anticipation (see Dad, I do listen).
I was asked very recently what I thought my biggest failure was; which is where the idea for this piece came from. It really got me thinking. I instantly interpreted it as a negative question. But it didn’t have to be…
Because surely, without our failures, what do we have to show for ourselves? Just our successes? Just when things went well? Just when things were easy?
So not the case.
Often our ‘biggest failures’ can lead to the best, and most beautiful successes. Plus great stories (as above – pretty sure a video of Dad teaching me how to drive would have gone viral).
So to anyone reading this post who is perhaps feeling more surrounded by ‘failure’ than ‘success’ at present, please remember that your ‘failures’ have the potential to become successes. I have literally cried at the wheel in frustration and fear, more times than I can remember, but I have also cried with happiness and pride – when I drove to and from work, for the first time, on my own.
Sounds daft I know, but for me – it was a huge deal, and it still is.
So, don’t consign ‘failures’ and disappointments to purely negative sections of your life. Often they lay the foundations for the best, and brightest moments.
P.S. To the guy stood laughing at Flora and I trying to reverse park last week – it may have been a forty-point turn, but I got there eventually. Appreciate your support x
P.P.S. Dad – thank you for your never-ending patience and perseverance. Thank you for gifting me with some wonderful quotes, and letting me share them with the world. But above all, thank you for never giving up on me (both at the wheel, and in life). You’re a legend x